Posts Tagged “Steaks Recipes”

Black pepper hides in the background. We add it “to taste” so regularly that most of us have forgotten what it tastes like. These short ribs are destined to change all that. They are purposefully black peppered and glazed with a reduction of aged balsamic vinegar that makes the perfume of the pepper bloom across your palate.

BBQ TOOLS AND EQUIPMENT
– Long-handled tongs.

SHORT RIBS
Short ribs are the last 3 inches of bone and meat on a primal beef rib that gets trimmed away when the primal cut is butchered down to a rib roast. They sell for a fraction of the cost of their high-priced brethren, even though they are essentially the same cut. Most people think short ribs need to be stewed or braised, but now that you know they are almost rib roast, you also know they are an excellent candidate for grilling. They don’t need to be brined, marinated, pounded, or pulled. Like a standing rib roast, short ribs are ready to cook just the way they are.

THE GRILL
Gas:
Indirect heat, medium (325° to 350°F)
3- or 4-burner grill – middle burner(s) off
2-burner grill – 1 side off
Clean, oiled grate
Charcoal:
Indirect heat, medium ash
Split charcoal bed (about 2 dozen coals per side)
20 replacement coals
Heavy-duty drip pan set between banks of charcoal
Clean, oiled grate on medium setting.

INGREDIENTS (MAKES 4 TO 6 SERVINGS)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
12 pieces beef short ribs (about 3 pounds)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper, or more to taste
Oil for coating grill grate
½ cup balsamic vinegar.

DIRECTIONS
1. Heat the grill as directed.
2. Heat the olive oil and garlic in a small skillet over medium heat until the garlic starts to sizzle; do not let it brown. Transfer to a bowl; reserve the skillet. Rub half of the flavored oil over the meaty parts of the short ribs. Reserve the remaining garlic oil for the balsamic glaze. Season the ribs with the salt and pepper.
3. Brush the grill grate and coat it with oil. Put the short ribs on the grill away from the heat, cover the grill, and cook until an instantread thermometer inserted into the thickest section of the meat registers about 145°F, about 30 minutes, turning once halfway through. If your grill has a temperature gauge, it should stay at around 350°F.
4. While the short ribs are cooking, boil the balsamic vinegar in the same skillet you used to heat the olive oil, until the vinegar is reduced to about ¼ cup. Stir in the reserved garlic oil.
5. Remove the ribs to a serving platter; drizzle the balsamic glaze over the top and serve.

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There are a few simple steps to a great grilled steak. First, buy the best grade of beef you can find, such as choice (see page 50 for more on grades of beef). Dry-aged beef will have a more concentrated flavor than your typical supermarket offerings. Second, bring the meat to room temperature before grilling. Warm meat sears better than cold meat; you’ll get a better crust on your steak if you let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes instead of taking it straight from the refrigerator to the grill. To keep steaming to a minimum – step three – pat the steaks dry before seasoning them or putting them on the grill. Add a raging hot fire and you will create a nice thick crust on the steak. But you don’t want to burn it before the interior is done to your liking. So step four is to create a two-level fire with a high-heat area and a lowheat area. Sear the steak over high heat, then move it over low heat to finish cooking without burning. It also helps to let the meat rest off the heat before slicing. This brief resting period (5 to 10 minutes) allows moisture to redistribute throughout the meat so it tastes juicier. As with all the Mastering Technique boxes in this book, this recipe has only basic flavors (salt, pepper, and oil). It’s mostly about the technique.

THE GRILL
Gas: Direct heat, high (500°F)
Clean, oiled grate on lowest setting
Charcoal:
Direct heat, red hot
12-by-12-inch charcoal bed (about 3 dozen coals) with high- and low-heat areas
Clean, oiled grate on lowest setting
Wood:
Direct heat, red hot
12-by-12-inch bed with a 4-inch-deep area for high heat and a 2-inch-deep area for low heat
Clean, oiled grate set 2 inches above the fire.

INGREDIENTS (MAKES 6 SERVINGS)
4 boneless strip steaks, each 10 to 12 ounces and 1 to 1½ inches thick
1 tablespoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
Oil for coating grill grate
2 tablespoons olive oil.

DIRECTIONS
1. Trim the fat on the steaks to about ¼ inch. Pat the steaks dry with paper towels and sprinkle all over with the salt and pepper. Let rest at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours. Or cover and refrigerate for up to 8 hours if you have the time (this intensifies the flavors). 2. If you refrigerated the steaks, bring them to room temperature before grilling, about 1 hour.
3. Heat the grill as directed.
4. Brush the grill grate and coat it with oil. Rub the olive oil all over the steaks. Put the steaks on the grill over high heat and cook until darkly crusted, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Reduce the heat to medium-low (on a gas grill) or move the steaks to the low-heat area (on a charcoal or wood grill), cover, and grill for another 8 to 12 minutes for medium-rare to medium-done (135° to 140°F on an instant read thermometer inserted into the thickest part). Transfer to a platter, cover loosely with foil, and let rest for 5 minutes before slicing.

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Grilling pork chops is similar to grilling steaks. We prefer thick chops (at least 1 inch thick, preferably 1½ inches). The best technique for grilling thick chops is searing them over high heat and then moving them over low to medium-low heat to finish cooking. Thinner chops can be grilled entirely over medium-high heat for a slightly shorter cooking time. As with steaks and other meat, the keys to a good grilled pork chop include letting the meat come to room temperature, patting the meat dry, using fairly high heat, and letting the meat rest off the heat before slicing. Today’s pork is bred very lean, so it also pays to watch cooking times carefully. Cook the pork until it is still slightly pink in the center, and it will finish cooking off the heat as it rests.

TIMING
Prep: 5 minutes
Rest before grilling: 1 to 6 hours
Grill: About 10 minutes.

BBQ TOOLS AND EQUIPMENT
– Long-handled tongs.

GETTING CREATIVE
– If you prefer boneless meat, replace the rib chops with boneless rib chops or center-cut loin chops and reduce the cooking time slightly.
– For smoky-tasting chops, soak 1 cup of hickory or oak wood chips in water for 20 to 30 minutes. Add the soaked chips to the high-heat area of the grill until they begin to smolder. Grill the chops as directed, covering the grill to trap the smoke.

CHOP SHOP
Pork loin chops vary from market to market, but you’ll probably find two basic choices: center-cut chops and rib chops. Center-cut loin chops are similar to T-bone beef steaks, with loin meat on one side, a smaller bit of very tender tenderloin meat on the other side, and a T-shaped bone in the middle. Rib chops are cut from the rib section of the loin and have a rib bone running along one edge of the chop and one large portion of loin meat on the other side. We generally like to grill rib chops because they have a bit more intramuscular fat, which helps keep them from drying out on the grill. You might also find two other pork chops at your market: sirloin chops and blade chops. These chops also make good choices for grilling.

THE GRILL
Gas:
Direct heat, high (500°F)
Clean, oiled grate on lowest setting
Charcoal:
Direct heat, red hot
12-by-12-inch charcoal bed (about 3 dozen coals) with high- and low-heat areas
Clean, oiled grate on lowest setting
Wood:
Direct heat, red hot
12-by-12-inch bed with a 4-inch-deep area for high heat and a 2-inch-deep area for low heat
Clean, oiled grate set 2 inches above the fire.

INGREDIENTS (MAKES 6 SERVINGS)
4 bone-in pork rib chops, each 1 to 1½ inches thick (about 3 pounds total)
2 teaspoons kosher salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
Oil for coating grill grate
2 tablespoons olive oil.

DIRECTIONS
1. Trim the fat on the chops to about ¼ inch. Pat the chops dry with paper towels and sprinkle all over with the salt and pepper. Let the chops rest at room temperature for 1 hour, or cover and refrigerate for up to 6 hours.
2. If you refrigerated the chops, bring them to room temperature before grilling, about 45 minutes.
3. Heat the grill as directed.
4. Brush the grill grate and coat it with oil. Rub the olive oil all over the chops. Put the chops on the grill, cover, and cook over high heat until nicely grill-marked, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Reduce the heat under the chops to medium-low (on a gas grill) or move the chops to the low-heat area (on a charcoal or wood grill), cover, and grill for another 5 to 6 minutes for medium (145°F on an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part).
5. Transfer to a platter or plates, cover loosely with foil, and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

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Here’s our favorite way to make barbecued chicken pieces – brined to keep the meat moist. Use this as a base recipe and vary the flavors in the brine to suit your taste. We also recommend a dry rub and finishing sauce for flavor. One final step also helps to retain moisture in the meat: grilling the chicken with the skin on. If you prefer skinless chicken, the brine will help it hold on to moisture during grilling. Or you could grill the chicken with the skin on and then remove the skin before serving. If that’s your preference, slather a finishing sauce onto the skinless chicken at the table rather than during grilling, because most of its flavor will be discarded with the skin.

TIMING
Prep: 5 minutes (plus 5 minutes for sauce)
Brine: 2 to 3 hours
Grill: 30 to 40 minutes.

BBQ TOOLS AND EQUIPMENT
– Long-handled tongs
– Long-handled basting brush.

CUTTING A CHICKEN INTO PARTS
1. To save money, buy a whole chicken (3½ to 4 pounds) and cut it into parts yourself. Put the chicken breast-side up, pull one of the legs away from the body, and cut through the skin and meat where the leg attaches to the body. Bend the leg away from the body until the ball of the thighbone pops out of the socket. Cut between the ball and socket to remove the leg from the body. Repeat with the other leg.
2. For each leg, cut the drumstick from the thigh by cutting down firmly through the joint.
3. Pull a wing away from the body and cut near the joint at the base of the wing to remove it from the body. Repeat with the other wing.
4. Pry the back away from the breast with your hands and cut the back from the breast. Save the backbone for stock, if you like.
5. Cut the breast lengthwise in half down the middle through the breastbone. If you like, cut each breast crosswise in half to make smaller pieces.

Mastering Technique Basic Bone-in Chicken Parts - BBQ And Grilling Recipes

THE GRILL
Gas:
Indirect heat, medium (350°F)
3- or 4-burner grill–middle burner(s) off
2-burner grill–1 side off
Clean, oiled grate
Charcoal:
Indirect heat, medium ash
Split charcoal bed (about 2 dozen coals per side)
20 replacement coals
Heavy-duty drip pan set between banks of
charcoal
Clean, oiled grate on medium setting.

INGREDIENTS (MAKES 6 SERVINGS)
3½ to 4 pounds bone-in chicken breasts, thighs, and drumsticks
½ cup sugar
½ cup kosher salt
1 cup hot (but not boiling) water
3 cups cold water
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
Oil for coating grill grate
1¼ cups Sweet, Hot, and Sour BBQ Sauce.

DIRECTIONS
1. Trim any excess fat from the chicken parts.
2. Put the sugar, salt, and hot water into a 2-gallon zipper-lock bag. Shake to dissolve the salt and sugar. Add the cold water and the chicken parts. Press the air out of the bag, seal, and refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours.
3. Remove the chicken from the brine and discard the brine. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and sprinkle all over with the pepper. Let the chicken rest at room temperature before grilling, about 30 minutes.
4. Heat the grill as directed.
5. Brush the grill grate and coat it with oil. Put the chicken over the unheated part of the grill, cover, and cook, turning once or twice, until the chicken is no longer pink and the juices run clear (about 170°F on an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part without touching bone), 30 to 40 minutes total. Breasts cook faster, so check them first. During the last 10 to 15 minutes of grilling, move the chicken over the heated part of the grill to brown all over. Brush with the barbecue sauce during the last 5 minutes. If your grill has a temperature gauge, it should stay at around 350°F.
6. Remove the chicken to a serving platter.

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Boneless, skinless chicken parts—particularly chicken breasts – dry out quickly on the grill. Our solution is to brine the meat to retain moisture. If you skip the brine, be sure to baste the meat often with oil or basting sauce to keep it moist. This recipe mostly demonstrates technique. To add flavor, use any combination of the marinades, brines, rubs. For a triple shot of flavor, use a marinade or brine, then a dry rub, and finally a sauce, salsa, or chutney.

TIMING
Prep: 5 minutes (plus 5 minutes for sauce)
Brine: 1 to 2 hours
Grill: 10 to 14 minutes.

BBQ TOOLS AND EQUIPMENT
– Long-handled tongs
– Long-handled basting brush.

THE GRILL
Gas: Direct heat, medium-high (450°F)
Clean, oiled grate
Direct heat, light ash
Charcoal:
12-by-12-inch charcoal bed (about 3 dozen coals)
Clean, oiled grate on lowest setting
Wood:
Direct heat, light ash
12-by-12-inch bed, 3 to 4 inches deep
Clean, oiled grate set 2 inches above the fire.

INGREDIENTS (MAKES 6 SERVINGS)
½ cup sugar
½ cup kosher salt
1 cup hot (but not boiling) water
3 cups cold water
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves or thighs, (about 1½ pounds total)
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
Oil for coating grill grate
1¼ cups Sweet, Hot, and Sour BBQ Sauce.

DIRECTIONS
1. Put the sugar, salt, and hot water into a 1-gallon zipper-lock bag. Shake to dissolve the salt and sugar. Add the cold water and the chicken pieces. Press the air out of the bag, seal, and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours.
2. Remove the chicken from the brine and discard the brine. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and sprinkle all over with the pepper. Let the chicken rest at room temperature before grilling, about 30 minutes.
3. Heat the grill as directed.
4. Brush the grill grate and coat it with oil. Put the chicken on the grill, cover, and cook until no longer pink and the juices run clear (about 170°F on an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part), 5 to 7 minutes per side. Brush with the barbecue sauce during the last 5 minutes. If your grill has a temperature gauge, it should stay at around 450°F.
5. Remove the chicken to a serving platter.

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Chicken wings have a lot of skin that drips fat into the fire. Keep a spray bottle handy to douse any flare-ups. It also helps to keep the grill covered to limit the oxygen supply, which kills the flames. We marinate the wings in Sweet, Hot, and Sour BBQ Sauce here as a basic flavor example, but you can flavor the wings however you like. Garlic-Plum Barbecue Glaze, Hot Pepper–Bourbon Syrup, Mustard-Molasses Glaze, and Thai Coconut Peanut Sauce all make good sauces for tossing with the wings.

TIMING
Prep: 10 minutes (plus 5 minutes for sauce)
Marinate: 2 to 8 hours
Grill: About 20 minutes.

BBQ TOOLS AND EQUIPMENT
– Long-handled tongs
– Large disposable aluminum pan.

THE GRILL
Gas:
Direct heat, medium (350°F)
Clean, oiled grate on lowest setting
Charcoal:
Direct heat, medium ash
12-by-12-inch charcoal bed (about 3 dozen
coals)
Clean, oiled grate on lowest setting
Wood:
Direct heat, medium ash
12-by-12-inch bed, 3 inches deep
Clean, oiled grate set 4 inches above the fire.

INGREDIENTS (MAKES 4 SERVINGS)
2 pounds chicken wings (about 8 whole wings)
1¼ cups Sweet, Hot, and Sour BBQ Sauce
Oil for coating grill grate
½ cup (1 stick) butter.

DIRECTIONS
1. Cut off and discard the tips from the chicken wings. Cut the wings into 2 pieces through the central joint. Put the wings in a 1- gallon zipper-lock bag. Add ½ cup of the sauce and reserve the rest. Press the air out of the bag and seal the top. Massage the sauce into the wings, then refrigerate for 2 to 8 hours.
2. Remove the wings from the refrigerator about 20 minutes before grilling.
3. Heat the grill as directed.
4. Brush the grill grate and coat it with oil. Put the wings on the grill and cook until well browned all over and no longer pink in the center near the bones, 10 to 12 minutes per side.
5. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large disposable aluminum pan on the side of the grill (or in a saucepan over a separate burner). Stir in the remaining ¾ cup barbecue sauce until combined. Toss the grilled wings with the sauce in the pan. Or put the sauce and melted butter in a big bowl and toss with the wings until fully coated. Serve warm.

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Fish steaks are among the most grill-friendly seafood. They can be grilled directly on the grill grate without falling apart, much like a beef steak or pork chop. We use salmon steaks here because they are so popular, but you can use this method for any fish steak you like. Keep in mind that salmon steaks are somewhat oily, and the fat keeps the steaks moist during grilling. Cod, tuna, and halibut steaks are a bit leaner and thus benefit from soaking in an oil-based marinade to keep the fish from drying out on the grill.

TIMING
Prep: 2 minutes
Grill: 4 to 8 minutes.

BBQ TOOLS AND EQUIPMENT
– Long-handled tongs.

TIP
– If using tuna steaks, grill them rare or medium-rare by reducing the cooking time just slightly. The tuna should still be red in the center.

THE GRILL
Gas:
Direct heat, medium-high (450°F)
Clean, oiled grate
Charcoal:
Direct heat, light ash
12-by-12-inch charcoal bed (about 3 dozen coals)
Clean, oiled grate on lowest setting
Wood:
Direct heat, light ash
12-by-12-inch bed, 3 to 4 inches deep
Clean, oiled grate set 2 inches above the fire.

INGREDIENTS (MAKES 4 SERVINGS)
1½ to 2 pounds salmon steaks, each about 1½ inches thick
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
Oil for coating grill grate
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 lemon wedges.

DIRECTIONS
1. Sprinkle the fish with the salt and pepper. Rest at room temperature before grilling, about 20 minutes.
2. Heat the grill as directed.
3. Brush the grill grate and coat it with oil. Rub the olive oil all over the fish and put the fish on the grill. Cover and cook until a bit filmy and moist in the center, 2 to 4 minutes per side.
4. Transfer to a platter or plates and serve with the lemon wedges for squeezing.

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Some fish fillets, such as catfish, red snapper, flounder (and other flatfish like sole), rockfish, and sea bass, are too thin to grill directly on the grill grate. For thin, delicate fillets, we use a fish-grilling basket to make turning the fillets easier. Other firm and thick fillets, such as grouper, striped bass, halibut, salmon, bluefish, and mackerel, can be grilled directly on the grill grate. Use any type of fish you like. Just be sure to keep the grill grate or grilling basket hot and well oiled to prevent sticking. Use heat-resistant gloves (preferably silicone) when handling a hot fish basket. Again, the flavors here are kept to a bare minimum. This recipe is meant to be a blank canvas on which you can build your favorite flavors. Often a wet paste or thick glaze tastes best with fish fillets, but a dry rub and a chunky salsa works nicely too.

TIMING
Prep: 5 minutes
Grill: 6 to 10 minutes.

BBQ TOOLS AND EQUIPMENT
– Fish-grilling basket or long-handled spatula
– Heat-resistant grill mitt.

THE GRILL
Gas: Direct heat, medium-high (450°F)
Clean, oiled grate
Charcoal:
Direct heat, light ash
12-by-12-inch charcoal bed (about 3 dozen coals)
Clean, oiled grate on lowest setting
Wood:
Direct heat, light ash
12-by-12-inch bed, 3 to 4 inches deep
Clean, oiled grate set 2 inches above the fire.

INGREDIENTS (MAKES 6 SERVINGS)
1½ pounds skinless red snapper fillets
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
Oil for coating grill grate or fish basket
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 lemon wedges.

DIRECTIONS
1. Heat the grill as directed. If using a fish grilling basket (which we recommend for thin, delicate fillets such as red snapper), preheat the basket on the grill.
2. Pat the fish dry with paper towels and sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Let rest at room temperature for 15 minutes.
3. Brush the grill grate and coat it with oil. If using a fish basket, coat the hot fish basket with oil. Rub the olive oil all over the fillets and put the fillets in the basket (if using). Put the basket on the grill (or put the fillets directly on the grate), cover, and cook until the fish is just slightly filmy and moist in the center, 3 to 5 minutes per side. If your grill has a temperature gauge, it should stay at around 450°F.
4. Serve the fillets with the lemon wedges for squeezing.

TIP
– This recipe is designed for skinless fillets. To grill skin-on fillets, create a crisp skin by brushing the skin with oil and grilling the fillet, skin-side down, directly on the grill grate over medium heat. Cover and cook for 10 to 12 minutes without flipping. This method works best with skin-on fillets that are less than 1 inch thick.

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Porterhouse Au Poivre - BBQ And Grilling Recipes

Here’s the classic steak au poivre, done on the grill with a porterhouse steak. The steak is big, brawny, and rubbed with coarsely cracked peppercorns, but the Cognac cream sauce adds a touch of elegance, balancing out the dish nicely.

TIMING
Prep: 5 minutes
Rest before grilling: 1 to 2 hours
Grill: About 25 minutes.

BBQ TOOLS AND EQUIPMENT
– Long-handled tongs.

GETTING CREATIVE
– Watercress makes a nice garnish for the steak platter.
– For smoky-tasting steaks, soak 1 cup of wood chips in water for 20 minutes. Add the soaked chips to the low-heat area of the grill until they begin to smolder. Grill the steaks as directed, covering the grill to trap the smoke.

TIPS
– Most supermarkets don’t usually cut steaks this thick. Call the meat department or your butcher ahead of time to order it.
– On this steak, the T-shaped bone separates the smaller and more tender tenderloin (or filet) from the larger and more flavorful top loin (strip). Make 4 servings by cutting the 2 pieces away from the bone and then cutting them into 4 pieces or by cutting all of the meat into ½-inch-thick slices and serving each guest a mix of tenderloin and top loin slices. The T-bone itself is up for grabs.

THE GRILL
Gas: Direct heat, high (500°F)
Clean, oiled grate on lowest setting
Charcoal:
Direct heat, red hot
12-by-12-inch charcoal bed (about 3 dozen coals) with high- and low-heat areas
Clean, oiled grate on lowest setting
Wood:
Direct heat, red hot
12-by-12-inch bed with a 4-inch-deep area for high heat and a 2-inch-deep area for low heat Clean, oiled grate set 2 inches above the fire.

INGREDIENTS (MAKES 4 SERVINGS)
2 tablespoons mixed peppercorns, such as black, green, red, and white
1 large porterhouse or T-bone steak, 2½ to 3 pounds and at least 2 inches thick
2 tablespoons olive oil
Oil for coating grill grate
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste for the sauce
3 tablespoons butter
1 large shallot or scallion, minced
½ cup Cognac
½ cup heavy cream.

DIRECTIONS
1. Put the peppercorns in a zipper-lock bag, press out the air, seal, and coarsely crush with the bottom of a heavy skillet.
2. Pat the steak dry with paper towels and rub all over with the olive oil. Press the crushed pepper into both sides of the meat. Cover loosely with foil and let the meat rest for 1 to 2 hours at room temperature.
3. Heat the grill as directed.
4. Brush the grill grate and coat it with oil. Sprinkle the salt over both sides of the steak. Put the steak on the grill over high heat and cook until darkly crusted, 4 to 6 minutes per side. Reduce the heat to medium-low (on a gas grill) or move the steaks to the low-heat area (on a charcoal or wood grill), cover, and grill for another 10 to 15 minutes for medium-rare to medium-done (135° to 140°F). Transfer to a platter, cover loosely with foil, and let rest for 5 to 8 minutes.
5. While the steak rests, put the butter in a medium heavy-gauge skillet and melt over medium-low heat, either on a stove-top or directly on the grill grate. Add the shallot and cook until softened, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the Cognac and move the pan over the high-heat area of the grill or raise the heat to high; the Cognac might flame. Boil until reduced to about ¼ cup. Stir in the cream and any accumulated juices from the steak platter. Return to a boil and boil until slightly thickened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add salt to taste and serve with the steak.

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This recipe, inspired by the Sicilian classic, sarde alla beccafico alla palermitana, is less elegant than its muse (a beccafico is a bird with a reputation of being a gourmand because it gorges on ripe figs whenever possible). But what it lacks in delicacy it makes up for with a dynamic contrast of crisp, charred skin; rich, oily fish; and the sweet and salty tang of the stuffing.

TIMING
Prep: 20 minutes
Grill: About 5 minutes.

BBQ TOOLS AND EQUIPMENT
– Long-handled spatula
– Grill screen.

SARDINES: OUT OF THE CAN
Fresh sardines are as different from their canned crammed counterparts as fresh tuna is from canned tuna fish. Fresh sardines are available year round, and it is mostly a matter of demand that dictates supply at your local fish store. Sardines are usually sold whole, gutted, with their heads on. If your fish seller will remove the bones for you, it will streamline your time in the kitchen, but if not, don’t despair; the task is not difficult or time-consuming. As with all fish, look for fresh sardines that are firm and do not smell fishy.

THE GRILL
Gas: Direct heat, medium-high (400° to 450°F)
Clean, oiled grate
Charcoal:
Direct heat, light ash
12-by-12-inch charcoal bed (about 3 dozen coals)
Clean, oiled grate on lowest setting
Direct heat, light ash
Wood:
12-by-12-inch bed, 3 to 4 inches deep
Clean, oiled grate set 2 inches above the fire.

INGREDIENTS (MAKES 4 TO 5 SERVINGS)
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup finely chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ cup pine nuts, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
¼ cup golden raisins, finely chopped
1 teaspoon capers, finely chopped
1 tablespoon dried breadcrumbs
¼ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
2 pounds fresh sardines, cleaned, heads removed
Oil for coating grill screen
1 lemon, cut into 8 to 10 wedges.

DIRECTIONS
1. Heat the grill as directed.
2. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and saute until tender, about 4 minutes. Stir in the garlic and pine nuts and sauté until the pine nuts are lightly toasted, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the cumin, raisins, capers, breadcrumbs, parsley, and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
3. Remove the bones from the sardines by grasping the backbone at the head end of the fish and pulling it toward the tail. The whole skeleton should separate from the flesh in one piece.
4. Place some of the stuffing inside each sardine, and mold the fillets around the stuffing to encase it. Coat the outside of the sardines with the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil.
5. Place the grill screen on the grill, and coat it with oil. Place the sardines on the oiled screen, cover, and cook for 2 minutes. Flip, cover, and grill until the fish flakes to gentle pressure, about 2 minutes more. If your grill has an external temperature gauge, it should stay at around 450°F. Serve with the wedges of lemon.

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